Distributive Learning Tools

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TimePlaceMatrix_MediaDistributed Learning (DL) is an educational and formational model that allows members of a learning community (students, faculty, and staff) to access content and community life while being located in different, non-centralized locations. Elements may occur synchronously (at the same time from either the same or different places/spaces) and/or asynchronously (at different times from the same place or different places/spaces).

Distributive Learning provides access to community events and resources and includes a variety of course models including

  • On-Campus Semester/Term Course (with web/tech enhancements) – Instruction takes place with students and instructor physically present in one room
  • Intensive On-Campus Courses (with web/tech enhancements) – Campus-based teaching and learning that typically occur during two-three weekends or daily over 1-4 weeks
  • Hybrid  Courses – combination of on-campus and online interaction designed primarily for remote students requiring only one or two trips to campus
  • Blended Courses – combination of on-campus and online interaction designed primarily for commuter and residential students requiring more than 3 sessions on campus
  • Online-only Courses –  Synchronous and/or asynchronous teaching and learning online

Most academic institutions use a Learning Management System (LMS) to provide students staff, and faculty centralized access to what they need for teaching and learning. These generally require login with a username and password to restrict access to registered users. Typical features are:JohnRoberto

Course Management (catalogue of courses, mechanism to register, prerequisites, credit information)
Teaching Materials (syllabus, text and multi-mediated course content, etc.)
Communications Technologies (asynchronous tools like emails, forums, threaded discussions,  and voice-threads as well as synchronous tools including chat, audio teleconferencing, and web conferencing)
Assessment and Evaluation Tools (self-tests, quizzes, progress tracking, student response systems, eportfolio, course evaluation surveys,  etc)
Administrative Tools (student progress tracking, assignment management, online grading)

Beyond the features native to a particular LMS or external options that can be integrated into it. there are also freestanding web-based resources that cannot be integrated into a school’s LMS.  Faculty and Information Technology/Educational Technology staff need to work collaborately to ensure that teaching/learning goals direct technology choices.  Ideally, faculty should identify the FUNCTIONS they need to effectively achieve their learning outcomes and IT/ET staff should recommend options that are compatible with a school’s resources.